How does the interrelation between Humanitarian Country Teams (HCT) and Inter-Cluster Coordination Groups (ICCG) affect humanitarian response? How can the effectiveness of HCT and ICCG collaboration be improved and whose job is it? In many reviews and evaluations, weak collaboration between different components of the coordination architecture, specifically the HCT and ICCG, is often cited as contributing to a less effective humanitarian response.  So why are these linkages important, how do we make them more effective and who is responsible for making them more effective?

This webinar unpacks the roles of the HCT and the ICCG and how the strategic and operational pieces should fit together. We will explore how HCT-ICCG collaboration can impact the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian response, provide good practice examples of how it can be improved, and share field experience from Afghanistan.

A summary of this webinar is unfortunately not available. Please see the recording of the webinar below:

Operational Peer Reviews and P2P missions have found that sometimes the HCT and ICCG can be disconnected. Cluster lead agencies may not always provide sufficient support to clusters as well as not representing the cluster in the HCT effectively.  Some top tips from Mark Bowden, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan, include:

  • Reduce the size of the HCT: The HCT should be a manageable size and function as a strategic decision-making body. In Afghanistan, the HC reduced the size of the HCT, to make it more manageable, and gave it a policy agenda focused on strategy and decision-making.
  • Streamline the clusters: Clusters have specific functions that are outlined in the Cluster Coordination Reference Module. However, cluster coordinators are often over-tasked and can be distracted from their core role. The HCT in Afghanistan conducted a reform process that identified the clusters essential to the operation. The number of clusters was then streamlined.
  • Dedicated cluster coordinators: Clusters should focus on their coordination role. This includes knowing where partners operate and what they do. It also means keeping members informed of key HCT decisions and ensuring the HCT is informed of operational issues ‘on the ground’.
  • Cluster lead responsibilities: The Cluster lead agency has responsibilities to cluster members, HCT, and HC. This should be balanced with their responsibilities to agency headquarters.


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